Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Shines, who discusses her new video, “An Buachaillín Bán”- and so much more.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Shines: I’ve always been a singer– which is funny, because singing doesn’t run in my family–but ever since I could talk, I was singing.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Shines: It really varies depending on the song, but I work a lot with layering– starting with one vocal idea and then adding layers of sound: more vocal lines, strings, and synths. I’m a sucker for songs that build.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Shines: Nature has been a major inspiration for my music, especially during Covid-19 as I’ve been quarantining in coastal Maine. I recorded the EP and filmed the accompanying videos up here with my husband, director Brody Bernheisel.
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Shines: Music is super cathartic for me– it helps me process life and brings me a huge amount of joy.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Shines: Vocally driven, emotional. Lots of strings and droney sounds. A little witchy.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Shines: Live shows are magic because you get the energy and unpredictability of interacting with an audience. Performing live also gives me a chance to play with new ideas. Recently I’ve been working with the choreographer Georgia Usborne to add more of a visual and dance component to my live shows.
Review Fix: What inspired your latest single?
‘Shines: Our Ship Is Ready’ is a fragment of an old Irish immigration song that I rearranged in my own style. It’s a song about looking toward the future, which is a theme that resonated a lot with me this year.
Review Fix: What was filming the video for “An Buachaillín Bán” like?
Shines: For each of the songs on the EP, my husband Brody filmed a video of me singing outdoors in coastal Maine. We were trying out a bunch of different locations and seeing how different spots could fit the songs. “An Buachaillín Bán” is another very old traditional Irish song, and it has so much emotion in it. We discovered that filming me singing in front of the flames from a fire pit worked as a way to convey the intensity of the song.
Review Fix: How do you want that song to affect people?
Shines: “An Buachaillín Bán” is a type of traditional Irish song known as “sean-nós” (which means “old style” in Irish). I’d love for it to be an opportunity for some listeners who haven’t heard this tradition before to get interested in sean-nós song.
Review Fix: Bottom line, what makes this EP special?
Shines: This is a collection of very old traditional songs that I’ve reworked in my own style. I think at times it really conveys the feeling of the ocean. The video component creates a world that surrounds the songs– the nature acts like another character in the story.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2021?
Shines: I just want the whole world to be able to get vaccinated! On the creative front, I’m working on a new album, and hoping to tour when things open up again.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Shines: We have a livestream launch party for the EP via the Irish Arts Center on Friday, May 7th at 5 pm. And hopefully more shows on the horizon soon.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Shines: My two collaborators on this album were Chris Loxley, who played cello, mixed and co-produced the album with me, and Rosana Cabán, who recorded and produced my vocals and did a lot of the mixing as well. I felt very lucky to be able to make music with both of them this year.